S-Cool Revision Summary
S-Cool Revision Summary
Ways of seeing
The novel is an allegory for the repression of women at the end of the twentieth century, and throughout the history of the human race. In doing this it explores the attitudes to women through all times, many of which we now see as barbaric or merely historical events without considering the impact of such beliefs on a person. It is a warning about what might happen if right wing politics takes hold of the West. Atwood uses Science Fiction conventions to demonstrate the potential in an exaggerated and unrealistic way so that she does not have to be grounded in strict reality. It criticises both men and women, rather than just one particular gender. It is an exploration of one woman's state of mind as she undergoes horrific deprivation and violation of human rights. It is also a novel about the dangers of political apathy and the potential effects of inaction. Memory and how people mythologize are also issues, illustrating individual concerns rather than the purely historical and impersonal.
|Begins to regret her previous inaction and apathy.|
|As narrator, the reader feels sympathy for her.|
|Tells her story, perhaps, allowing people to understand the events of history.|
|Appears too meek - she doesn't do anything to help the cause of women during the takeover.|
|'Steals' Luke off someone else.|
|A strong character with a force of intent (survival) behind her actions.|
|Symbolises hope and freedom and individualism for Offred.|
|Betrays her supposed ideology at Jezebel's.|
|Is selfish and concerned only with herself.|
|Tries to be nice to Offred.|
|Probably partly responsible for the death and imprisonment of thousands of people.|
|Cannot and does not show remorse for the previous Offred's death or the suffering of the thousands mentioned above.|
|Provides Offred with some happiness.|
|Maybe rescues her.|
|Maybe betrays her.|
|Is a shady character, whose motives and desires are unknown.|
|Is a member of Mayday, and therefore fighting for freedom.|
|Kills herself to protect her colleagues: she is selfless.|
|Puts Offred in danger.|
Major areas of study
Women and their roles in society
Reading and writing
"Although the characters in The Handmaid's Tale are shadowy figures and the plot sketchy, it remains a compelling novel." Do you agree?
What effect does the use flashback have on your reactions to Offred in The Handmaid's Tale?
"Margaret Atwood depicts a world of frightening repression." Remind yourself of chapters 42 and 43, and explore how she portrays control in the novel.
Examine the relationship between Offred and Moira, focusing on their meetings at the Red Centre and Jezebel's.